Everything you need to know about the next new Bishop of Burnley

A priest has been chosen as the next Suffragan Bishop of Burnley.

Edinburgh-born Rev. Dr Joseph (Joe) Kennedy (55) was introduced today by the Rt Rev. Philip North, Bishop of Blackburn, at Burnley Faith Centre.

Bishop Philip made the appointment following consultation with a representative group of people from the diocese. It was approved by King Charles III and posted to the Downing Street website at 10am.

Joining them were the Rt Rev. Dr Jill Duff, the Suffragan Bishop of Lancaster, all members of Bishop Philip’s Vision and Strategy Team, civic, faith and community leaders, and choir members from St Peter’s CE Primary School.

Here is everything to need to know about the new Burnley bishop:

Who is the Rev. Kennedy?

He is currently Vicar of Oxton St Saviour in the Diocese of Chester.

He studied maths and theology at Edinburgh University before training for ordination at Oxford University, and later beginning his ministry in Oxford Diocese. His wife Emily is Head of External Financial Reporting for Oxfam and they have two children: David (13) and Mary (seven).

Joe succeeds Bishop Philip, who was his immediate predecessor as Bishop of Burnley.

What has the Rev. Kennedy said about his appointment?

“I am delighted and humbled to be announced today as the next Bishop of Burnley, and to be joining Bishop Philip’s team later in the year. My family are thrilled to be coming here to Lancashire and to the Diocese of Blackburn.

“As I look to the future, my hope is to offer you a ministry that is confident in God, rooted in prayer, focused on pastoral care and on mission; and which offers a focus for unity across the diocese.

“Across Lancashire, and across the diocese, there is such a rich variety of experience: urban and rural areas and their parishes, post-industrial towns and coastal regions, schools and chaplaincies, coupled with the diversity of traditions in the Church of England – different ways of worshipping, of serving communities, and of seeing things.

“My heart sings, too, as I anticipate the opportunity to begin to work with colleagues across the whole diocese as we continue to implement Vision 2026 together and look to the future – supporting healthy churches, transforming communities.”

What has Bishop Philip said?

Bishop Philip said he is “delighted” to welcome the Rev. Kennedy who “loves to see lives changed by the Gospel” and “brings experience and expertise in parish renewal and in starting new local congregations.”

He added: “At the interview, it was the integrity of his faith that struck us all and he will bring to the diocese a profound and life-changing trust in Jesus Christ; a sincere commitment to mutual flourishing and huge gifts in preaching and teaching.”

What has the Most Rev. and Right Hon. Stephen Cottrell, Archbishop of York said?

"I am delighted that HM The King has appointed Dr Joseph Kennedy as the Suffragan Bishop of Burnley.

“Joe joins the Diocese of Blackburn at an exciting time and brings expertise in chaplaincy and teaching, and in ministering alongside others to help God’s Church to grow. I very much look forward to Joe’s consecration and his ministry with us in the north."

What related services and events will take place?

The Dean of Blackburn, The Very Rev. Peter Howell-Jones, Diocesan Offices employees and members of the Cathedral Chapter welcomed Joe this morning at the Anglican Cathedral in Blackburn. An interview conducted by Bishop Philip and Bishop Jill is available via the Cathedral’s YouTube channel.

The date of Joe’s Consecration Service at York Minster will be Friday, July 19th at 11am. This will be followed by his Installation Service on Sunday, September 8th at 4pm in the presence of civic, faith and community leaders from across Lancashire at Blackburn Cathedral.

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